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Eur J Neurosci. 2004 Feb;19(4):1093-104.

Enhancement of steady-state auditory evoked magnetic fields in tinnitus.

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Department of Neuropsychology, University of Heidelberg, Central Institute of Mental Health, Square J5, D-68159, Mannheim, Germany.


The steady-state auditory evoked magnetic field and the Pbm, the magnetic counterpart of the second frontocentrally positive middle latency component of the transitory auditory evoked potential, were measured in ten tinnitus patients using a 122-channel gradiometer system. The patients had varying degrees of hearing loss. In all patients, the tinnitus frequency was located above the frequency of the audiometric edge, i.e. the location on the frequency axis above which hearing loss increases more rapidly. Stimuli were amplitude-modulated sinusoids with carrier frequencies at the tinnitus frequency, the audiometric edge, two frequencies below the audiometric edge, and two frequencies between the audiometric edge and the tinnitus frequency. Below the audiometric edge, the root-mean-square field amplitude of the steady-state response computed across the whole head as well as the contralateral and the ipsilateral dipole moment decreased as a function of carrier frequency. With carrier frequency above the audiometric edge, the steady-state response increased again. The amplitudes of the transitory Pbm component were patterned in a qualitatively similar way, but without the differences being significant. For the steady-state response, both whole-head root-mean-square field amplitude and the dipole moment of the sources at the tinnitus frequency showed significant positive correlations with subjective ratings of tinnitus intensity and intrusiveness. These correlations remained significant when the influence of hearing loss was partialled out. The observed steady-state response amplitude pattern likely reflects an enhanced state of excitability of the frequency region in primary auditory cortex above the audiometric edge. The relationship of tinnitus to auditory cortex hyperexcitability and its independence of hearing loss is discussed with reference to loss of surround inhibition in and map reorganization of primary auditory cortex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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